North Newark

by Jewel (Mazziotti) Rotondo


I have fond memories of my childhood in Newark. My family lived at 391 Lincoln Ave. where I was born. At that time it was a dead end street. I also went to the corner store called "Serafini's" and on my visits, I looked forward to the opening of the glass case where the penny candy was kept. My parents were strict so we were not allowed to play in the front of the house. Instead we spent many days playing in the backyard, making our own games for the most part. The neighbors were surprised to learn that my parents had four children. I lived there with two sisters and two brothers. I remember that on Saturday afternoons, Louis Serafini would gather up the neighborhood children and take us all to the movies in his little truck.

We later moved up to 826 Summer Avenue. I attended Immaculate Conception Church and eventually taught catechism there. I still remember those long lines at the confession booth for Father Mestice. I made many nice friends there and one lifetime friend. We then moved to 569 Summer Avenue, a three family house. My married sisters occupied the first and third floors and I lived with my parents on the second. At that time I attended Good Counsel Church where later, John and I were married. We also had a summer home in Long Branch on the corner across from what is now President's Park and enjoyed many family gatherings there.

I attended Elliott Street School while Mr. Hargrove was principal.! I remembered the same two teachers as Barbara Whiteman, Miss Little and Miss Nowicki. How about Miss Lake, Miss Lux, Miss Carew, Mrs. Minnisi and Miss Holt? (I got these names from my old autograph book.) I remember going to the auditorium every morning for the principal's daily greeting. We recited the "Pledge of Allegiance" and sang the Star Spangled Banner which was displayed on a drop down screen , following the bouncing ball! I walked to school, back home for lunch, and then returned to school and back home again. Perfectly safe.

I became an administrative assistant in the Dept. of Special Services at the Newark Board of Education. I loved the job. Afterwards I attended the New York School of Interior Design and started my business after meeting the wife of the President of British Petroleum at a luncheon in the city. She lived in a grand apartment on Sutton Place South. It was a wonderful experience.

I then went on to other design projects, both commercial and residential, never advertising, but just taking word of mouth recommendations. I took courses at the French Institute but alas, cannot speak French except for a few phrases. During this time, my husband and I belonged to the St. Francis and then Sacred Heart Cathedral Choirs, rehearsing during the week,, sometimes more than once, and singing at mass on Sundays., religious holidays and ordinations. We still have the friends we made there. After several trips to Europe , mostly to Italy, we combined our love of photography. We enjoyed organizing our many slides and photos of our trips , even attempting our version of a Paris film. My husband kept a daily diary during some of these trips which we enjoy reading to this day. I could go on from here but I'll protect you from my rambling. I am now semi-retired and enjoying this reprieve. I am spending some time on tracing my family genealogy and putting together a history for the family . Just wanted you to know someone else remembers the old neighborhoods and they surely were the good old days.


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